Alert over antibiotic use
As the Chief Medical Officer and experts around the world warn of a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” and “the end of modern medicine”, Public Health England has launched a major national campaign.
It warns people that taking antibiotics when they are not needed puts them at risk of a more severe or longer infection, and urges people to take their doctor’s advice on antibiotics.
Antibiotics are essential in the treatment of serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.
But they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves.
Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant.
That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.
The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign is urging people in Wigan borough always to trust their doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when they need these drugs.
And, if they are prescribed, to take them as directed and neither save them for later use nor share them with others.
The campaign also provides effective self-care advice to help individuals and their families manage their illness if they are not prescribed antibiotics.
Dr William Welfare, consultant in health protection at Public Health England North West, said: “Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.
“But they are frequently used inappropriately to treat illnesses that can get better by themselves, such as colds.
“If you take antibiotics, when you don’t need them, the antibiotics will be less effective in fighting the next bacterial infection you get.
“To Keep Antibiotics Working for you and your family, always take your doctor’s advice.”